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Issue 145 Autumn 2022

Endocrinologist > Autumn 2022 > Features


| Features

In this special issue on careers, we talk to a range of people working in the field, to find our what career advice they would give their younger selves if they had the chance.

Appreciate freedom while you have it

"First, appreciate how much freedom you have as an early career researcher. It’s the best time to explore, investigate, test hypotheses and challenge dogmas without the extra responsibilities that come with time. Expect things to fail to work, even if you think they will be a sure thing, while others will work when you least expect it.

"Children are wonderful but massively disruptive; they force you to be more resourceful with your time and make you weep for the hours you wasted before they came along. Be understanding of the challenges that they bring for your own sake and for others."

Douglas Gibson
Sir Henry Dale Fellow, Centre for Inflammation Research, Edinburgh

Sing your own praises

"Speak up more and worry less. I assumed that working hard and producing good research was enough, but you really need to sing your own praises to get noticed. Also, find a mentor outside of your immediate supervisory team or principal investigator group: you need impartial advice. The other thing is to get out there and create your own networks as soon as you can. And, whatever you do, always be kind, supportive of others, and act with integrity – the best research partnerships are based on friendship and trust."

Rachel Tribe
Professor of Maternal and Perinatal Science, School of Life Course and Population Sciences, King’s College London

Do what you enjoy

"Make friends with everyone and learn what they do. Knowing who does what, who to ask for advice and who you should find next to address a new problem saves literally weeks of time. Ideally befriend the finance and admin teams as quickly as possible, if you need to manage grants and get contracts up and running.

"Make sure you’re doing the stuff you actually enjoy. If you like bench work stay active in the lab; if it’s the teaching you love, make sure you put time aside to do it properly and be engaged in the wider process. The quality of work is always better when you focus on the stuff you actually enjoy."

Rowan Hardy
Lecturer in Steroid Metabolism and Signalling, University of Birmingham

Be confident

"Be confident in your own abilities – recognise that you’re very good at what you do, and that you’ll be able to convince fellowship and lecturer interview panels of this."

Shanta Persaud
Professor of Diabetes and Endocrinology, King’s College London

Rejection is part of success

"Be kinder to yourself. When I became a mother, the guilt level of feeling you’re not doing enough at work or with family was even higher, but all of that is your internal voice. Take time to do something for you, and remember to celebrate all the small wins.

"Realise that everyone’s journey is generally not very linear, and that’s OK, as there are always other paths that can lead to unexpected, amazing opportunities. There have been times when I was devastated not to get the grades I needed, or not to be offered the PhD project I applied for. Those rejections were an equally important part of any successes."

Aylin Hanyaloglu
Reader in Cell Biology, Imperial College, London

Don’t panic

"Keep it simple. It can be very easy to over-complicate things and try to do too much. Create a clear plan with targets you want to get to: ones that are achievable and others that are more ambitious. Stick to the plan and have confidence in it and in yourself.

"Do not panic! Take a step back and a deep breath and, if someone will let you, vent your frustration to them, and then get back to getting the job done. To help with this, give yourself plenty of time. Things can take a lot longer than you expect."

Mark Turner
Assistant Professor, Research Centre for Sport, Exercise and Life Sciences, Coventry University

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